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Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions



  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    Actually Volkswagen's sales are in anything but the toilet. Volkswagen has made a big comeback, especially with the new Jetta and Passat, with the Jetta being the 12th best selling car out of 69 family cars and the Passat being number 28 out of 69 cars. While I own a Chrysler, if I had to choose between the two, Chrysler is definitely the one who's sales are in the toilet. The Concord is number 51 out of 69, the Sebring coup is number 51 out of 69 and the Sebring sedan is number 43 out of 69. Volkswagen was definitely crap in the '80's but they've done a complete 180. I should know since I just bought my daughter the new Jetta which is packed with even more quality than my Avalon. This is going to be her car for a long time and I want it to last....precisly the reason why I didn't go out and get a new Neon with $3000 of MSRP. Here are the sales figures for all the cars.

    Oh and if we want to about talk great companies horning warranties, try me trying to have GM honor my two year old Chevy Vega's warranty after it rusted out only after two years and its rear end back fired and caught on fire, almost killing my dog. Stupid me for believing Motor Trend's car of the year was really a good reliable car. After two years and fighting with GM in the courts, I was done with them. See we all have different experiences with cars. I see you have had no problems with GM, where I on the other hand was dragged through the mud by them nearly 30 years ago.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Your Chevy Vega lasted two whole years? You shouldn't complain. Most Chevy Vegas melted after only six months or so.

    God Bless those aluminum block engines.
  • viczoo1viczoo1 Posts: 2
    carlton1: our warranty company is National Auto Care out of Westerville, Ohio. We bought the van in Mansfield, Ohio. Up until this point, we've had no complaints about what they cover. We'll probably have a brand new van by the time the warranty runs out in about 23,000 miles.
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    as I just sold my minivan to a family member, and purchased myself something different with the winnings from my recent vacation to Las Vegas.

    I'll check in on all of you from time to time, but I'm sure that I won't miss a thing. Good luck to all, even those who don't own Chrysler superior minivans. ;-)
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We need your valuable information. We love our 99 GC SE which has had ZERO problems...just like the experience of the many DC minivans owned by people we know.
    Because of the overwhelming sales success of the DC minivans, there are more DC minivans with problems than other brands. BUT, the percentage of unreliable DC minivans is no higher than the others. In Troll Hall, the current Odyssey reigns supreme as "The minivan with the MOST reported reliability problems". Just read in all forums what the current owners of each are reporting.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Owning a Dodge or Chrysler can be very trying unless you understand the basic concept of "Dodge Years." Essentially, this works much like "Dog Years", except the ratio is about 3:1 instead of 7:1 for dogs.. In other words, a 1-year old Dodge is the equivalent of a three-year old Toyota or Honda.

    I, too, was very frustrated with the numerous failures in my 1996 Plymouth Voyager. Oil leaks, head gaskets, bad computers, bad starter, etc. were very hard to understand in a 3, 4 or 5 year old car. When I finally realized that my "1996 Voyager" was actually 15-years-old in "Dodge years", it all made sense.

    I have much more patience with the old girl now.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Of the GREAT number of Caravan/Voyager/T&C, only 1 has had problems. That 1986 Caravan was inherited by my sister in law from her dad who got it used from a "fly-by-night" used car lot.
    Honda reliability? Ha Ha...Big Joke. 4 of 7 Honda Accords owned by people I knew (early 1999 when we were minivan shopping) had MAJOR expensive repairs like engine replacement, transmission replacement (and both for 2), electrical problems.
    Go read in the Odyssey Problems Forums to read of all the numerous problems with the 1999 Honda Odyssey.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Bear in mind that this survey was conducted by a Chrysler enthusiast site - and is of Chrysler fans, not of the general public. Note that the top question about quality and service remains "why are the transmissions still failing in such large numbers, and what's being done about it"?

  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    say the trannies were fixed in 1998 and I believe everything they say.
  • fawkesgfawkesg Posts: 9
    Response to carleton1 Jun 13, 2001 (04:43 pm)

    You are right about the Honda Odyssey. All the data I have seen indicate that it has a "below average" reliability rating. It also appears that Chrysler minivans now have an "average" reliability rating. In fact it was that average reliabitliy that led me to buy an American car after 20 years of a "Japanese-only" buying policy. (I left American cars in the age of the Chevy Vega, Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin--back when American cars melted in the rain.)

    But my decision was a disaster! This Voyager has been a major headache and has screwed up 4 vacations in a row due with problems. It is also true that the major failures have been due to the crappy Mitusbbushi engine in the car, so the problem is not that it is an "American car."

    In fact, I just bought an "American car" (85% at least) that I believe I will be able to depend on--a Toyota Sienna. It was cheaper and nicer than the Dodges and, after the last experience, I am not gong to take a chance that Chrysler didn't get it right again.

    It should also be more reliable than the Honda minivan.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Salespeople may have said the transmission was fixed in 1998, but I know two people with newer models (1999 and 2000) who have already had transmission problems. The owner of the latter model is suing DaimlerChrysler under the New Jersey lemon law at the moment. And DaimlerChrysler made major changes to the differential component of the 41TE and 42LE transaxles (the former used in most FWD transverse cars and minivans, and the latter in the FWD longitudinal LH design) partway through the 2000 model year - so not all the problems were fixed before that point. The newer designs (2000+) require yet another different type of fluid, something DaimlerChrysler has changed several times in an attempt to fix the problems with the transmissions. A mechanic I know says that nothing short of a total redesign will really fix the unit - that it is a faulty design from the get-go that nothing they've tried really ever fixed. Allpar (the DaimlerChrysler enthusiast site) has an editorial that essentially agrees - saying they should leave the design to history and go forward, preferably with a Mitsubishi or Daimler-Benz design (see below).

    The survey may not have an exact date, but it's very recent - they had the news about it on the website just a few weeks ago.

    The enthusiast editorial on the faulty transmission design is here:

  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    As a former DC owner, I think it may be the stop and go, bumper to bumper East Coast traffic, with A/C running, that results in over heating the transmissions and causing excess wear.
    Generally, with the exception of LA, Seattle, and Oakland / SF, Western traffic is not near as crowded as East Coast traffic, and you can get up to some speed with resulting cooler running and longer lasting transmissions.
    I would be interested to know if other manufacturers, also experience a similar regional problem.
  • dskoczylasdskoczylas Posts: 22
    I just purchased a 2001 Grand Caravan after selling my 95. Had only one problem with the 95. The front wheel bearing went at 60K miles. I was also concerned about the transmission problems and installed a cooler on my 95. Transmission was great through 75K miles when I sold it. I went to do the same to my 2001 and found that there is already a cooler for the transmission, instead of the lines going to the radiator. Just wondering if I should add another cooler or leave it as is. Any thoughts?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    It could be that open road driving preserves the DaimlerChrysler automatics. You certainly can't do much of that in New Jersey.

    However, other automakers do just fine in designing automatics that work fine here in the Northeast - why not Chrysler? And why has it kept producing a known-troublesome unit for over a dozen years now?
  • dovey1dovey1 Posts: 13
    I am having terrible wind noise and thought that I read the roof rack crossbars were being replaced by the dealer and there is a TSB for it. Anyone know the number of that TSB and if it applies to model year 2000? Going to the dealer for service on Wed. and like to be "armed" with the proper answers. Thanks in advance.
  • palmetto2palmetto2 Posts: 1
    I am curious to know if this recall
    was prompted by any serious accidents.
    I bought my 01 van on May 13, drove
    around town until June 5, left on a
    2000 mile trip and then found out about
    a recall when I called the dealership.
    When I contacted the dealership on June
    15, they said not to drive the van in,
    but to have it towed in so they could
    fix it. No one ever contacted me about
    this until I called in when I heard
    something on television about a recall.
  • cgaydoscgaydos Posts: 116
    And I thought my dealership was bad! I drove off on a Monday (4/30) and they called on Thursday saying that they needed to tow the car in. My beef was that I asked them if they'd done the recall work BEFORE I took delivery and they said they had.

    I too would be interested in hearing if there were serious accidents. Didn't see any in the NHTSA database, but I haven't checked for a few weeks.
  • edgarmacedgarmac Posts: 6
    Re mag #623: Early in its life my 89 Caravan/3.0L would not idle in hot weather. I had to keep my foot on the accelerator to keep it from stalling. Dealer could not fix. I finally found a mechanic who could. Problem was a wire which was rubbing some hot part and intermittently shorting out.

    New subject: I had 3 nerve-wracking episodes with the A604 transmission in this thing very early in its life, but they apparently fixed themselves because it's gone 100,000 miles since then with no problems.
  • irfanhirfanh Posts: 2
    I have a 92 Grand Voyager LE and for the past couple of month I have experiened a wierd problem, dealar have'nt figured it out yet either.

    Usually on freeway, when I am doing 55 to 65, after a few minutes, all of a sudden the speedometer needle starts to move freely between 55 and 100. At this point I know the problem is starting. A little later the movement becomes quick like a pendulum, going back and forth, and as soon as the needle gets close to the 90 or 100 mph mark the car takes a jerk. I am only doing 60 or so at this time. At that point the needle either stays at 100 and wont accelerate OR it would swing back towards the 60 mark but as soon as I accelerate the needle starts going towards 100 again and again the van takes a jerk. This may go on for a while then I may be able to maintain 60. But the speedometer needle is still moving slowly around the 60 mark and as if wanting to go back to the 100mph mark.

    I have had so much trouble with this as it happened when we were driving back to Virginia from NewYork. I had no choice but to manage 50mph.
    It looks like the jerk is somehow related to the speedometer needle.

    I have had the transmission checked, and electrical testing done as well. Dealer says, bring it when it is actually doing it. Well, it has started doing it more frequently so I may be able to do that. But would really appreciate if anyone has any ideas or suggestion or has experienced anything like this before.
    thanks for your help
  • buckeye74buckeye74 Posts: 4
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